The 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Armistice has been a special year for everyone with an interest in understanding the causes of WW1 and remembering the sacrifices made by so many.
To mark this occasion – as a result of the hard work of a few key figures and with the support of hundreds of ACF volunteers - more than 3,500 Army Cadets from across Great Britain took part in a unique three-day French battlefield tour in October 2018.
This hundred-year journey started long before any cadet stepped on to a coach. Before undertaking the visit, cadets undertook research to understand more about their own families’ 100 year journey from WW1 to present day - resulting in many fascinating case studies. Their research helped them to understand the roles their relatives played during WW1, encouraged them find out more about local heroes, and enabled them to reflect on the freedoms they enjoy today.
The Army Cadet Armistice 2018 initiative is the largest single activity that the ACF has undertaken. It involved five groups of around 700 cadets, accompanied by their ACF volunteer instructors, journeying to WW1 battlefields in France (from Shorncliffe in Kent) over the period 19-29 October. Cadets from 39 ACF counties were involved along with cadets from Combined Cadet Force (Army) units in 13 schools.
The event was an educational one as well as one of respect and remembrance. During the visits, each group of cadets was able to talk to experts about the causes of WW1, the course of the War, technology (including tanks, mines, aircraft, artillery and radio), media, medicine and commemoration. At the end of each visit the groups took part in a commemorative parade at the Thiepval Memorial.
Col Mark Nash, Commandant of Wiltshire ACF, worked with HQ Regional Command and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to plan the event. Mark’s aim was to encourage more cadets to explore their family’s 100 year journey and understand the sacrifices made by those who took part in WW1. “Being part of a huge commemorative event should give the cadets a lasting memory and positive attitude towards commemoration.”
Col Stuart Williams talks about Army Cadet Armistice 2018 and other battlefield tours